Twin Cities Happenings

A lot has been going on in and around Minneapolis since my last post, and I’ve been partaking in some of those events. The Twin Cities truly are a haven for artists and lovers of art. That gets forgotten a lot, especially nationally. I’m here to give you some examples of the cool culture offered by our fair cities.

Last Saturday, I saw the deservedly highly praised “Idigaragua” at Bedlam Theatre. Dubbed as an “indie rock musical”, this production was easy to love if you’ve been wondering “‘Tommy’ sucked, so why hasn’t a band tried to write a musical since?” The band is Fort Wilson Riot who, at only two years old, sound so tight you’d think otherwise. The production went something like this: band plays, actors mime along, puppets go in and out, a screen is assembled and a film is played, more puppets, more lip syncing, and lots of great indie rock. I bought the CD hoping it would clue me into the story, but it hasn’t. Still, the mix of their major talent and proud oddness could make them big (indie) stars someday.

Last Sunday was my first time dealing with the I-35W detour to Hwy 280. The first Msp Music Expo in a while was back at the Four Points Sheraton in “Minneapolis” (whatever, it’s totally Roseville). I ended up taking home a jazz compilation that once belonged to Gene Goldenfeld of Los Angeles, CA. I don’t know who that is either. I’m trying to familiarize myself with some jazz. I also purchased a first edition paperback of my buddy Tim Riley’s “Tell Me Why”. Just what I needed – another Beatles book.

This past week included a couple shows. The first was the band I “manage”, Formula Three (and by “manage” I mean suggesting they have a CD release party earlier this year) at the Uptown Bar. I’d never been to the Uptown before, and I can’t see myself going back just for kicks. Punks, blah blah blah. My favorite was a guy in a brand new hoodie and a huge NOFX patch safety pinned to the back. I shouldn’t tease, maybe he doesn’t consider himself punk. I guess all hoodies are new at some point. Codger opened, and I found them very annoying. I just can’t get into bands who think they are really really funny. That bores me to tears. If you’re going for the funny bone instead of the spirit with your music, at least be clever. An “I want jaundice” t-shirt is not even “funny weird”, it’s just dumb. And yelling out an inside joke repeatedly does not make me want to know more.

Even more culturally significant was seeing St. Vincent and The National at the stupid Fine Line. How does the Fine Line keep to fire codes? The two times I’ve been, there’s easily 200 extra people crowding up the place. It’s nearly impossible to walk anywhere. Luckily, we splurged for the golden table seating deal where you get food and drinks and a good place to sit. It’s the only way to do the Fine Line. They were even kind enough to provide a chair for an extra person we had.

Re: St. Vincent, I normally can’t stand her music. I saw her open for Midlake earlier this year, and it was just plain weird. She looked like a bag lady. Since then she’s gotten tons of buzz, washed her hair and has been here about 16 times so far this year, she says. But St. Vincent’s set was really brilliant this time. The songs on “Marry Me” shone when all stripped down to mainly her electric guitar and beautiful voice. But what really sold me was her quip, “And here’s a song I wrote back in 1969…” before delving into the semi-obscure “I Dig a Pony” from the Beatles’ “Let it Be” album. She is the LAST person I’d expect to do a Beatles cover. Loved it.

The National were everything I hoped they would be. As my new favorite band, I had high expectations. Matt Berninger puts on quite a show…he’s moody, kinda crazy, and extremely passionate. His voice sounds even better in person, which I didn’t think was possible.

An added feature was an incredible violinist/pianist, who clearly loves the songs as much as all the fans in the audience. The annoying girl quotient was pretty high (“You’re awesome Matt” repeated between every song), but luckily our table kept us fairly safe.

Tonight it’s “Strange Love“, a musical/performance art piece inspired “Dr. Strangelove”. God I love artists.

Photo courtesy jcbehm.

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